She got up as soon as I sat down, slamming her books shut. “So what, you’re just going to keep avoiding me, then?”, I sighed, unsure whether the thought even bothered me or not.
“I’m not avoiding you. Besides, would that be so bad?”
“Honestly, could you just stop being so damn dramatic for a second and ju–”
“Don’t do that. Don’t make me feel like I’m overreacting and like it’s all in my head. You know it’s not.”
“Do you really believe that, though?”
“Believe that I’m a cold, unfeeling, manipulative witch who only cares about herself. That I don’t care about anybody?”
“Well, do you? I mean you said it yourself once, right? I just want you to accept it and stop with the charade”
“That wasn’t what I meant. And there is no charade.”
“What did you mean, then?”
“If I answer that, would you even believe me? You’ve made your mind and honestly right now, I don’t think I have the energy to care enough to try to correct it.”
I opened my mouth to retort, but she was walking away already. Ah, screw it.
The summer heat beat down on the back of my neck as I walked to my apartment. The elevator was out-of-order. Of course it was. The lady next door looked at me pityingly as I huffed my sweaty self up the four flights of stairs and nearly collapsed onto the welcoming bed in my room. I still hadn’t replaced the lamp after it had been broken all those weeks ago. I actually really used to like that lamp. I felt anger rearing its demanding head. Why was I always angry these days?
It had been a few days since she and I had talked. I was neither happy nor unhappy about it. Strangely enough, all I felt was indifference. This must be what it’s like to be her, I thought, chuckling to myself.
Just as the first heavy tendrils of soft sleep started weaving their web around my head, a knock on the door jolted me out of the rare moment of peace I had been settling into. Cursing, I walked slowly to the door and opened it to find her on the other side–looking way too damn chipper–holding a bunch of DVDs.
“Heyo! What took you so long? Its boiling out here and your stupid lift is out-of-order again, you really should call the building secretary about that, you know?”, she pushed past me to dump the movies on the coffee table and turned up the air conditioning before flopping down on the sofa, kicking her shoes off.
“What are you doing?” I hated that I sounded so grumpy, under normal circumstances this would be when she’d start mockingly imitating me.
“What, its Wednesday.”
“So?” I closed the door and sat down on the sofa beside her.
“So, I thought we’d watch a movie. This week has been way too long. Why are you being so weird about this? This is what we do on Wednesdays.”
“We haven’t for a few weeks.”
“So we will this week. Do you have popcorn? Also, are you cooking or should we order?”, she got up to look through the kitchen cabinets. “What are you doing?” I sounded tired.
“Looking for popcorn packets”
“No, not right now, I mean what are you doing?”
She sighed, putting down the microwave popcorn and turned to me, “Look, can we just watch a fricking tragedy and cry our kidneys out? I’ve been having a crappy couple of weeks and I need my friend right now, okay?”
“I didn’t think we were still friends. I mean, you haven’t exactly been enthusiastic about even seeing me the past several days” I got up and put the popcorn in the microwave before turning around to face her. She was fidgeting, tapping her feet, wringing her hands, looking anywhere but at me.
“What else was I supposed to do? So much was happening and then you had to go and say all those horrible things, what was I supposed to do?”
“Then why show up here today? After staying away for so long, why come up out of the blue acting like everything’s normal?”
She looked up then, her hands completely still but rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet. I looked back at her, challenging her to finally, just for once confront the problem head on instead of skirt around it or walk away or quietly deal with it without ever really dealing with it. I wanted her to just say whatever she was thinking without trying to censor or second guess her words, to just say it. Accuse me, yell at me, scream at me so I could do the same.
She opened her mouth and I saw a slight hint of anger in the set of her mouth and annoyance at the corner of her eyes but then all of that was suddenly replaced by resignation instead. The microwave beeped. She pushed herself off the counter and walked to the living room, picking up her bag and keys, “You’re right. I shouldn’t have come.”
All the cheerfulness was gone and for a few seconds I saw just how tired she was. She looked like she hadn’t slept in days, her shoulders slumped–they never slumped–and her feet moved as if they were bound by chains, heavy and constricting. She dragged a hand through her hair, settling them back in place behind her ears, but as always, they refused to stay and fell across her face again as she bent to put on her shoes.
“That wasn’t what I was saying. I’m glad you came but–”
“No you’re not. Can we just…enough with the lies. I’m just–I’ve had enough of all the lies.” She looked up, her eyes pleading and filled with rage at the same time. “It’s okay. Just no more lies.”, she whispered the last part, her face looked drawn and haggard. I knew it wasn’t just about what was happening with the two of us. She was having a tough year. I wanted to apologize, to just put the damn movie on and laugh at the protagonist’s naiveté. But then I considered the fact that this right now, this might all just be an act too. You never know with her.
I was angry. At myself, for thinking those things right now, at her for letting me go on thinking them. At us for just dissolving so easily.
“I’ll see you around.” And she was out the door, closing it behind her. The movies lay on the table. I took the popcorn out and stared at it.
She was messing with me head again.
For the first part: Part One